Autonomous Cars in the Age of Experience

By Thomas

AKKA Link&GoCustomer buying behavior is fundamentally changing. Living in mega-cities, they often have to cope with traffic congestion and pollution. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2M people throughout the world are killed in car crashes every year. Human error is to blame for at least 60% of traffic fatalities. Vehicles are, in fact, mission critical systems because of the sheer mass they move in a fairly open system.

Now, customers care more and more about aesthetic, economic, driving performance, or unlimited technology. That is why the Transportation and Mobility industry is now exploring how to deliver the optimal “experiences” to their consumers. We are on the brink of a new technological revolution: the “self-driving” vehicles.

Olivier Sappin, Transportation & Mobility VP at Dassault Systèmes, provides a quick overview of this technological breakthrough:

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Validate Customer Experience

Autonomous driving makes it possible to create entirely new driving experiences. The industry is thinking about how autonomous cars would “move” people, and not just in the literal sense. Self-driving cars could encourage work, relaxation or conversation. Passengers will spend their time in a more meaningful way. Autonomous cars will enable you to watch TV, listen to music, text a friend, or even eat dinner… without looking at the road ahead. As today’s drivers want to connect their various mobile, entertainment and GPS devices to optimize their vehicle environment, the new era of Transportation & Mobility starts to encompass social experiences. And these advancements will also improve productivity!

Self-driving cars make it necessary to test new types of vehicle-driver interaction. Now, consumers are fast becoming more comfortable with intelligent transportation systems: automatic parking, collision-avoidance systems and telematics. As a result, consumers of all ages are surely becoming prepared psychologically to cede control of the steering wheel.

So the idea is to challenge traditional automotive design. Automobile interiors will be redesigned so that seats can swivel sideways to face other passengers instead of facing forward, and desk surfaces will be built into the cabin walls.

AKKA Link&Go Interior

New Levels of Complexity To Be Managed

Automakers are increasingly developing cars that drive themselves. Audi, BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo all have announced plans to “unveil” an autonomous car by 2020. But Google is further ahead in this development than traditional industry leaders (Google is to release publicly a prototype in 2016). Autonomous vehicle drive systems are electro-mechanic and driven by software. That is why the industry strives to build cars from a systems model which allows them to validate functions including electrical, software and hardware.

Connectivity within and between vehicle environment is still a huge challenge. Vehicles can collaborate, interpret data from other vehicles around them, from surroundings, with the “Internet of Things” and improved GPS technology. Thanks to sensors allowing them to drive closer together, autonomous cars will accelerate and brake more efficiently than humans, increasing fuel efficiency. These standards continue to be discussed in the Transportation and Mobility industry.

Olivier Sappin, VP Transportation and Mobility, interviews Luc Barthelemy, R&D Program Manager at AKKA Technologies about a new autonomous concept car, Link&Go.

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Collaborate Effectively

None will do it alone. Today’s car OEMs are building new relationships with innovators in many new areas (apps, car sharing, service providers, urban transport). Transportation and Mobility suppliers are building expertise too, not only by collaborating with OEMs in innovative ways, but also by creating new networks of expertise by themselves. AKKA Technologies is a great example.

According to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), self-driving cars will account for up to 75% of cars on the road by 2040. These new vehicles and sophisticated systems management tools will speed up innovation and foster new collaborative networks in order to create new, secure and delightful autonomous driving experiences.

AKKA Link&Go 2.0

There are still many questions unanswered:

  • Why don’t we see more driverless cars in the streets?
  • Who will be faster to get autonomous cars on the road? Car manufacturers, innovative companies, government,…?
  • What is the future of self-driving cars?
  • What do you think about this revolution?

We are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

Thomas LANDOIS is a member of the Transporation&Mobility industry team.

Smart is Beautiful, or the Aesthetics of a Connected Vehicle Experience

By Neno

At this year’s Festival de l’Automobile International (FAI), the contenders for the “Creativ’ Experience” award showed impressive new ways to bring harmony, style and passion to the interfaces of the connected, intelligent vehicle.

Scene

Festival de l'Automobile International

In the 29th edition of the renowned FAI many of today´s automotive design leaders had their latest innovations on the catwalk – in front of the magnificent scenery of the Hôtel National des Invalides in the heart of Paris.

As every year, prestigious awards were waiting to honour outstanding design achievements in categories like the most beautiful car, the most beautiful interior or for achievements for the environment.

Scope

2014 Festival de l'Automobile International - all winners on stage

Dassault Systèmes, a many-year partner of this venue, last year introduced a second “Grand Prix” award for companies doing significant research optimizing the user experience of driving an intelligent car, including the user experience of connecting with its surrounding world. Industry professionals call this approach “creative experience”.

Solutions

Anne Asensio and Pierre Marchadier on FAI 2014 stage

It should be no surprise that most contenders presented solutions around the Human-Machine-Interface. While it looks simple to get information to the car and back to the external world, we find that many user concepts today overstrain drivers who – in contrast to a smartphone user – must not be distracted from driving at any time. In that respect, all present OEMs showed impressive achievements that make functional complexity more simple and safe to use. At the same time, the user interfaces become more intuitive, aesthetic and compelling to explore. Here are some examples we saw at the FAI:

BMW i App

BMW has designed an amazing digital navigation environment integrating the smartphone and cockpit interfaces that invite drivers to discover the many new benefits from electric mobility, and at the same time master the range limitation with multi-modal mobility solutions – that’s cool!

Nissan NISMO watch

NISSAN brings “lifeblood into the driving experience”: NISMO, a beautifully designed arm-watch integrates body data like blood pressure with vehicle information to generate entirely new statistics about driving behaviour.

Amongst such a fabulous competition, it was not an easy win for AUDI, who took the award of the “Creativ’ Experience”, yet a well deserved one for sure: Their “eKurzinfo”, which is a dynamic electronic user manual for the new A3 model, creates an unprecedented user experience: Augmented Reality is helping to discover vehicle functions with handheld devices. Users are provided with an instant and intuitive way to get to know their A3, simply using a marvelously designed app for mobile devices. The jury was impressed how AUDI realised such a smart and seamless digital continuity to ignite emotion and comfort in discovering vehicle functions. Audi A3 users for sure will appreciate this experience too.

AUDI eKurzinfo 01AUDI eKurzinfo 02
AUDI eKurzinfo 03
AUDI eKurzinfo 04

Seeking perfection

These are all brilliant achievements in a moment of time. But how can designers keep up with the ever-increasing complexity and speed of innovation? How can they match with continuously changing tastes and styles, with societal and technological influences all over the globe?

Virtualisation is a key enabler to cope with these challenges. Creating innovation by means of an immersive digital model allows designers to imagine a holistic user experience. Dynamic, three-dimensional views very close to reality help them conceive the physical and emotional outcome of their designs. Moreover, they can even invite the future users to validate the experience at very early stages, and they can incorporate the feedback from these “virtual clinic” multitudes faster than in a physical design environment.

Dassault Systemes My Car Experience - Industry Solution Experience

Dassault Systèmes has recently launched “My Car Experience”, a digital platform for designers on which they can imagine vehicles and “virtual universes” for creating mobility innovation. Along with the 3D-environment, process and data management, this collaborative platform provides capability for “social listening and collaboration”.

Seeking perfection by means of virtual universes will certainly be a key enabler for creating the future of mobility, but in my view nothing can replace some key events in the real world – like the FAI is one – when designers, their creations and the judging client meet for a unique and unrepeatable moment in life.

  • What do you think about designing the future of mobility?
  • How do you think virtual universes can help on this endeavour?

I am looking forward to your comments!  :-)

Neno HorvatNeno Horvat is a member of the Transportation&Mobility Industry team.

Consumer products go on a diet, getting lighter and stronger

By Paul

Have you noticed that your new tennis racket or softball bat is lighter and easier to swing, yet stronger than your old one?  Maybe your new sports car hugs the road tighter than before but has even better safety ratings and fuel efficiency than the older model?

If you’ve recognized these things already, you’re probably using new-age composites.

Carbon fiber composites are having a wide-reaching effect on many industries, from automotive to office furniture.  The desk chair above, made from composite materials, was designed in Dassault Systèmes’ SolidWorks.

Composite materials, where two or more constituent materials are fused together, have been in use for a very long time.  Plywood, where wood is glued at different angles to give it more desirable properties than natural wood, is one of the earliest examples. However, the technology to create these materials has taken a giant leap forward, enabling fiber-reinforced composites and more specifically carbon-fiber composites.  This is revolutionizing product design in a number of different industries and dramatically improving the experience for end users.

The transportation and mobility industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of carbon-fiber composites because the material is stronger and lighter than the steel and sheet metal that’s currently used in trains, planes and automobiles, and takes away any risk of corrosion.  To see how impactful these things can be, take a car for example.  Strong yet lightweight composites can improve safety and fuel economy at the same time, which is a pretty big deal in the face of government regulations and a global energy crunch.  Using lightweight composites on the roof of a car also lowers the center of gravity for a more exhilarating driving experience, while maintaining structural integrity.

Composites are different than traditional materials because you actually design material that is optimized for an intended purpose.  This is much different than working with sheet metal where the material is simply cut or shaped to fit a design.  With composites, material is designed to meet the needs of specific parts – from the frame of a car, to its hood, roof or bumper.  However, this also adds a level of complexity to product design, which is why an integrated environment – like Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, where design, simulation and manufacturing procedures can all be performed – is a major benefit.  Without an integrated platform, a manual translation must be performed between each stage, greatly increasing the chance of errors and the potential to waste time and materials.


Plasan’s Jim Staargaard easily lifts the roof of a 2013 SRT Viper. Lightweight carbon fiber body panels helped cut 100 lbs. from previous models of the car.

Plasan Carbon Composites provides a great example of a company delivering on the value of composites through its use of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.  The company supplies parts for leading automotive OEMS worldwide, including hoods, roofs and fenders for the Chevy Corvette and Dodge Viper.  To further extend the benefits of composites, Plasan is also leading the charge to bring carbon-fiber frames and sub-structure components to the automotive industry.

While helping OEMs achieve their goals of sustainability and better fuel economy, Plasan is also practicing sustainable innovation itself.  Using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, the company has eliminated trial-and-error for “right-first-time” designs and fewer physical prototypes, reduced power usage through an innovative new curing process, and reduced the number of plies in a part design for higher quality and improved performance.

Car and Driver magazine reviewed the 2013 SRT Viper and notes the impact of composite materials about 40 seconds into the following video:

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Paul Di Laura is Vice President, Value Solutions for North America



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